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Unholy Sonnets is the author's seventh collection of poetry, his first since the celebrated Questions for Ecclesiastes, which confirmed Mark Jarman's emergence as a major American poet. Following up on the memorable sequence of Unholy Sonnets, Questions for Ecclesiastes, creates an entire book that inverts John Donne's asking of God, Are You there, and do You hear?
Unholy Sonnets continues the work Jarman began in Questions for Ecclesiastes. This new series of poems strives to create devotional poetry written against the grain, without assumptions about faith or shared belief. That is why these sonnets are called unholy. They aim to avoid piety, while also testing the limits and conventions of the sonnet form.
Taking off from the series of sonnets in Questions for Ecclesiastes, Unholy Sonnets explores more fully the relationship between what the soul desires and what creation allows. These new poems investigate the nature of prayer, incarnation, judgement, and grace, while trying to imagine a God large enough to hold the universe and personal enough to care about individual yearning and gratitude, suffering, and joy.